For several years now, the city of Viterbo has been embroiled in heated discussions about the pros and cons of building a commercial airport.
|self portrait Pza. delle Erbe|
|entrance to Sant'Egidio, Viterbo|
During the next few weeks the buzzwords in town will be Air Force and airport.
But this time it is because the city is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the local military airport.
The first event on the celebration calendar was Thursday’s inauguration of an exhibit of art, heraldry and medals held in the former church of Sant’Egidio, in Viterbo’s historic center.
|crests of Air Force schools and academies|
|Comander Coppola gives the welcome speech|
As I mingled with officers from all branches of the Italian armed forces, I realized that I was the only non-Italian invited.
|Patrizia with embroidered banner|
|a selection of historic embroidered banners|
Instead of stressing only military aspects of the anniversary, this exhibit was surprisingly “soft” for it highlighted a series of elegant tapestry-like banners.
The banners formed an unusual display of the art of embroidery.
These rarely seen historic gagliardetti, are tapestry-like banners decorated with figures and mottos of different Air Force Academy courses, which are named according to the alphabet, from A to Z.
The designs showed planets, animals , mythological figures and ancient gods symbolizing virtues of courage, determination and loyalty.
I'm hoping that someone with more insider information will leave a comment, for I was not able to discovered who (men or women) actually created these masterfully embroidered banners.
The artist Marcella Mencherini exhibited a series of her paintings depicting heroic moments of air force history.
Some of her huge canvases are part of the permanent collection housed at the Air Force Museum in Vigna di Valle, others are in private collections.
The museum, located directly on the Lake of Bracciano, makes a perfect stop if you have already seen the castle of Bracciano.
A full calendar of events for the Airport's anniversary can be found here .Comments and more information are welcome, especially from members of the Italian Air Force.